(Note: I had to skip Day 5- I’ll post the review of Noah’s Fine Food in Stonington, CT soon…after I get the photos off Ron’s iPhone.)
West Virginians, we have so many thngs to be thankful for in the Mountain State…one of them is our liquor laws. I used to complain about having to wait until 1:00 in Sunday to buy alcohol at Kroger since I was already there to get lunch meat, milk and several bundles of asparagus. I won’t complain about that anymore (let’s keep it real: at least for a few weeks) now that I have experienced first-hand the oppressive liquor laws of New England.
In Connecticut and Rhode Island, you have to go to an actual “package” store. Ron wonders why convenience stores even exist if you can’t buy beer there…obviously the only reason he ever crosses the threshold of such an establishment. In Connecticut, you can’t buy alcohol at all on Sunday, except in a restaurant or bar.
Noting on our first day that beer prices in Mystic were just as high as Virginia Beach ($4 – $4.50), Ron asked me to pick up some beer on Sunday while he was in his first class so he could enjoy an icy cold one when his session concluded. I, like the dutiful fiancee I am only some of the time, drove about 10 miles into Rhode Island in search of the elixer.
At this point, I did not know I had to find a package store in Rhode Island. Instead, I was still thinking any ol’ gas station or supermarket would sell it. I got off I-95 and drove for what seemed like forever on a skinny, country road with no hint of commerce anywhere. So I turned around, got back on the interstate and proceeded further north, exiting in a clearly commercial area at Kingstown Pike.
It wasn’t until I was checking out of the Super Stop & Shop (or whatever it was called) that I learned from the cashier that I need to find a package store. Just to add another degree of difficulty, the cashier does not drink so she wasn’t sure where there was such a store, but she thought I could find one by turning right out of the grocery store parking lot. Following this meager advice, I was able to locate Wyoming Package about a mile down the road.
I made my purchase and marched out of there with a smile and a feeling of accomplishment. Also, a slight tinge of excitement since I was about to smuggle beer across state lines on a Sunday! I know, I know – I wouldn’t have been arrested or ticketed or anything if I had happened to get stopped. But it sure made my Sunday afternoon more fun by imaging how rebellious I was (not really) being.
Having grown up in Providence, my friend suggested we spend some time in Newport, Rhode Island. Newport is a shopper’s dream – specialty and well-known shops line the brick streets in historic Newport. Since I was with Ron on his only free afternoon, I knew better than to try to enter any of them. Newport is also home to fabulous mansions which served as summer homes for some of America’s elite, like the Vanderbilts.
Right in the midst of the shops, on an actual brick street, the bright yellow awning of the Brick Alley Pub caught our attention. Knowing that Ron is predisposed to favor any restaurant with the word “pub”, “brewery”, or “bar” in the name, I felt it was a suggestion he would accept, and he did.
I had already done a little internet research, determining we would like the menu at Brick Alley filled with hot sandwiches, spicy foods, and seafood. The lunch specials filled an entire page and the bound lunch menu must have been 6 pages long. You can see the entire menu at their website here.
Ron chose a Philly cheesesteak sandwich with fries for $9.95. I chose the Panino Caprese for $8.95. Like an idiot, I let the server talk me into the sweet potato fries after she assured me they were crispy. I knew they wouldn’t be…crispy sweet potato fries are an urban myth….they don’t exist. In order to get such a sugary veggie crisp, it would be black and burnt. I even paid an upcharge of $2.50 which the server described as “a little bit”. I must have been on Vacation High and not acting like my normal self. Whatever the explanation, it was a bad decision.
The Panino Caprese was really two sandwiches and I knew immediately I would not be able to finish it all. It had nice grill marks on the crispy bread and was filled with thick fresh mozzarella slices, spring greens and sweet, juicy tomato slices. The sandwich was delicious. The sweet potato fries sucked. I picked out the least limp of the lot but left most of the basket in tact. I did not choose the regular fries because they are frozen but believe me, they were the better choice.
Ron enjoyed his cheesesteak sandwich, eating it with a knife and fork. It was so full of fillings, he didn’t think he’d be able to pick it up and stuff it in his mouth.
Aside from my server lying to me about the quality of the sweet potato fries, she did a great job. Maybe, due to an unusual alignment of the planets, she once ate a sweet potato fry that was indeed crisp. Not!
The weather was not our friend today, gusting at us with impressive velocity almost continually. My ears were hurting after just walking a short distance after lunch. We had planned to take a lot of photographs along the coastline and even experience the Cliff Walk, but the wind and cold cut our day short.
I recommend the THREE FORK Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant if you find yourself in Newport, RI. And if you do, make sure you have enough time to drive on Ocean Drive, enjoy the cliff walk, see the mansions along Bellvue, and peruse the shops. After my brief taste of Newport, I wished I had a whole day I could spend here. In warmer weather!Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant 140 Thames Street, Newport, Rhode Island